Jackie Sunderland writes for Bleeding Cool:
Today marked the last New York Comic Con to occur while there are still new episodes set in the Avatar universe yet to be aired.
I attended the NYCC Legend of Korra panel last year on a Saturday afternoon, showed up 5-minutes late, and waltzed right into the back. This year, at 5pm on a Thursday, the slowest day of the con, the NYCC employees shoo'd me away, telling me the panel was at capacity.
Those of us in the standby line were allowed to crowd close to the auditorium so we could see the show. The line was over 10 rows deep. I hope Nickelodeon, which has horribly mistreated its best property this past year, was watching.
Today was a love letter to the fans from creators Bryan Konietzko Michael DiMartino (dubbed 'Bryke' by fans) and voice actors P.J. Byrne (Bolin), David Faustino (Mako) and Janet Varney (Korra).
The panel began with an airing of 'Korra Alone,' which premieres tomorrow on Nick.com, where Korra has been airing exclusively since July. No spoilers, but the episode echoes the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode, 'Zuko Alone' (complete with a haircut-by-sword for the titular character) and featured more than one member of the original Team Avatar.
Usually, Korra panels feature a behind-the-scenes look at animating your typical Avatar-verse episode, but today, we were given a bit of insight into voice acting. Byrne, Faustino and Varney showed a quick, funny video of the three of them doing vocal warm-ups and getting into character. (For Byrne, that included eating copious noodle bowls.) Then, we were treated to audio of the trio's first audition together.
The panel also featured a look at the new season character designs, specifically Book 4 baddie Kuvira, short haired Korra, and the newly formed Air Nation's flying squirrel air suits (which we were told we designed by Team Avatar 2's Asami, a factoid which didn't quite make it into Book 4).
But the best part of the panel was Konietzko, DiMartino and co. waxing nostalgic about the impending end of the Avatar universe. The last ever episode of The Legend of Korra is fast approaching, and each of the cast members shared a little of how their lives have changed since they started work on the show.
Varney recounted a conversation between she and casting exec Sarah Noonan about how her life was about to change once Korra premiered.
And Byrne summed up the feelings of everyone in the audience when he said, "I can't wait for the next project that is hiding deep in the dark crevices of their brain. The world is going to be so lucky to see what is going to come next from their heads."
The panel closed with DiMartino and Konietzko showing a bittersweet illustration of themselves, in 2002, huddled around a computer in Burbank, CA hammering out the details of what would eventually become the Avatar universe. It's twelve years later now, and soon there will be no Avatar to look forward to. Their parting words were a hearfelt thank you to their fans.
Another thing Varney said, passionately, was that Korra was "the best goddamned thing" she'd ever worked on.
It's also one of the best things I've ever seen. Here's hoping for big things from DiMartino and Konietzko in the future.